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Fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa dies age 77

Fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa dies age 77

Tunisian-born fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa, who was known for his figure-fitting dresses, has died at the age of 77.

Alaïa's death was announced by the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 18 November 2017.

While details were not revealed, fashion publication WWD has reported the cause of death as heart failure.

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Alaïa, born in Tunisia in 1940, was best-known for his slinky, tight dresses – a reputation that earned him the nickname "king of the cling".

He originally trained as a sculptor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis, before moving to Paris in the late 1950s to briefly work under Christian Dior and Guy Laroche.

Having become an independent courtier in the 1980s, he produced his first ready-to-wear collection in 1980.

He went on to dress many high-profile clients, such as Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell and Michelle Obama. But he was famously uninterested in adhering to the typical fashion schedules – preferring to show his collections as and when they were ready.

His death has prompted an outpouring of tributes from the fashion world, which were posted on social media.

In an Instagram post, Lady Gaga referred to him as a "true genius", while Vogue editor Edward Enniful described him as a "remarkable man".

Designers including Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Alber Elbaz, Donatella Versace, Riccardo Tisci, Rick Owen and Jean Paul Gaultier have also paid tribute.

Details regarding the future of Alaïa's fashion house have not yet been revealed.

At present, the designer's company is financially backed by Richemont – the owner of other luxury brands such as Cartier and Chloé. Richemont chairman Johann Rupert provided a statement, describing Alaïa as "not only a colleague but a great friend", but gave no further details.

"The industry has lost an exceptional talent," he said. "He was a man of integrity and kindness who was also a true creative genius."

"With his unique approach to couture, he created a distinctive style that will forever set his creations apart. Azzedine will be missed by all of us who had the good fortune to work with him."

Main photograph is courtesy of Francois Guillot.